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Utah Firing Squad Proposal Points to Death Penalty Crisis

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  • Utah Firing Squad Proposal Points to Death Penalty Crisis

    A bill passed by the Utah Senate Tuesday approving execution by firing squad represents the latest move toward antiquated execution methods in states that are running out of lethal injection drugs and could signal a turning point for the death penalty in the US.

    Although Utah Governor Gary Herbert has not yet said whether he will sign the proposal into law, the bill would legalize firing squads in cases where lethal injection drugs were not available.

    A national drug shortage of lethal injection ingredients has led states to adopt new tactics in recent years in order to pursue their executions. Some states have created their own mix of experimental injection drugs, which in some instances have led to highly-publicized botched executions.

    Meanwhile Tennessee last year passed a law that would allow inmates to be electrocuted if no lethal injection drugs are available, and Oklahoma's legislature is currently considering death by nitrogen gas inhalation.

    Some death penalty experts say that the push toward legalizing more draconian forms of execution is a political move, with legislatures trying to pressure the courts, including the US Supreme Court, to allow new, experimental drugs to be used. The Supreme Court this year agreed to hear a case about a botched execution that utilized new drugs in Oklahoma.

    "The states are trying to send a message to the pharma companies and courts: if they can't get the drugs they will go to draconian methods no one wants," Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told VICE News today. "The courts are going to have to decide which drugs are allowable, and compared to firing squad, they might decide it is allowable. Compared to other drugs that are better, it might not be."
    VICE News - Full Article

    Vote for firing squad shows frustration with drug shortages

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A vote by Utah lawmakers to bring back executions by firing squad is the most dramatic illustration yet of the nationwide frustration over bungled executions and shortages of lethal-injection drugs.

    Utah and several other states are scrambling to modify their laws on the heels of a botched Oklahoma lethal injection last year and one in Arizona in which the condemned man took nearly two hours to die. Meanwhile, Texas executed a Mexican mafia hit man Wednesday evening with its second-to-last dosage of drugs.

    Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has declined to say if he will sign the firing-squad bill, a decision that's not expected for a week or so.

    "States are wondering which way to go, and one way is to send up a warning flag that if you don't allow us freedom in this lethal-injection area, we'll do something else," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment. "This might be a message rather than a preferred route of punishment."

    States have struggled to keep up their drug inventories as European manufacturers opposed to capital punishment refuse to sell the components of lethal injections to U.S. prisons. The Texas deadline is the most imminent, but other states are struggling, too.
    AP - Full Article

    Would actually bringing back firing squads help deal with a problem, or could it potentially backfire on capital punishment as a whole?

    Oh DoD, that pun is beneath you...

  • #2
    Use of the term antiquated seems like a tactic to appeal to emotion instead of reason.

    When it coms to executing a criminal, a bullet to the head is by far the fastest, most humane, cheapest, and most effective method in existence. I never could get how so many people could devote so much of their time scratching their heads for a swift lights out technique when this one is one of the more obvious. You don't even need a squad. Just one guy. It doesn't matter how "antiquated" it is. It only matters that it works.

    Then you have the whole "one blank round" nonsense which I suppose is part of the reason. They want a system of execution that is humane for the prisoner and the executioner. But as I have said before, I find that to be BS. I don't believe in making things easy for the executioner. If you don't have it in you to pull the trigger, that's fine. Nothing wrong with you for feeling that. But if you don't have it in you then the state shouldn't be in the business of making it easier for you. One who pulls the trigger needs to see the results of what he does. Taking a human life should never be sanitized, even when it's deserved. If it is then we risk getting too comfortable with something that should be taken very seriously.
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    • #3
      There is no "crisis" - merely some solid problem solving. Can't get the drugs needed to execute someone? Go back to the firing squad which is always available and guaranteed to work even if all the electricity is off.

      Hats off to Utah for common sense.
      Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

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      • #4
        And a firing squad can be automated. Strap the subject into a chair, have a 12 gauge receiver and barrel fired by computer, set the 'time of execution'....do last rites or whatever they would like to have. When the clock strikes, the round goes off and their brain stem and cerebellum is immediately and irrevocably destroyed by 9 pellets of 00 buckshot fired at a distance of inches.
        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
          Then you have the whole "one blank round" nonsense which I suppose is part of the reason. They want a system of execution that is humane for the prisoner and the executioner. But as I have said before, I find that to be BS. I don't believe in making things easy for the executioner. If you don't have it in you to pull the trigger, that's fine. Nothing wrong with you for feeling that. But if you don't have it in you then the state shouldn't be in the business of making it easier for you. One who pulls the trigger needs to see the results of what he does. Taking a human life should never be sanitized, even when it's deserved. If it is then we risk getting too comfortable with something that should be taken very seriously.
          I think that the taking of life (Colonial period?) was also viewed as 'wrong'. IIRC, there was a custom whereby the executioner was sentenced to one hour imprisonment to symbolize recognition that his actions, though sanctioned, deserved punishment.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
            Use of the term antiquated seems like a tactic to appeal to emotion instead of reason.
            Which could backfire for the pro-capital punishment set, because the use of firing squads (in whatever form) do elicit a strong emotional impact and could feed the anti-capital punishment set. While it's a strong practical move, threatening to use firearms (or the electric chair; the guillotine; whatever) if actually followed through on could conceivably change public opinion.

            It really depends on how they proceed and what the response is. It will be worth keeping an eye on.

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            • #7
              They could easily use the same procedure that peacefully kills thousands of the innocent and stupid every winter, carbon monoxide poisoning.
              “Breaking News,”

              “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

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              • #8
                Not sure I see much of a story in this unless it will be unpopular in Utah itself. it isn't as if this hasn't been used since the C19th or somesuch.
                Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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                • #9
                  Utah's last firing squad was in 2010. Even though the state 'banned' it in 2004 that ban did not apply to those already on death row. The convict choose firing squad over lethal injection.

                  They use a 'squad' to offer the members the chance that they are not the ones that kill a tied up man. Utah used volunteer local law enforcement officers, not Prison guards. One or two of the weapons were loaded with a 'rubber' bullet type round. Gave the feel of a live round being fired. The idea is that no on knows who actually killed the convict

                  http://www.abc3340.com/story/2838255...y-firing-squad

                  Utah is the only state in the past 40 years to carry out such a death sentence, with three executions by firing squad since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The last was in 2010, when Ronnie Lee Gardner was put to death by five police officers with .30-caliber Winchester rifles in an event that generated international interest and elicited condemnation from many.
                  First death penalty carried out after the SCOTUS cleared the use of it again was by firing squad.

                  http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-...312-story.html

                  The inmate is typically bound to a chair with a leather strap, with a hood over the head, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Then, a doctor pins a target over the inmate's heart. Five shooters — one of them given a gun with blank rounds — fire at the inmate. The chair is surrounded by sandbags to absorb the inmate's blood.
                  The target is the heart, not the head.
                  “The time has come,” the Walrus said,
                  “To talk of many things:
                  Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
                  Of cabbages—and kings—
                  And why the sea is boiling hot—
                  And whether pigs have wings.”
                  ― Lewis Carroll

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BF69 View Post
                    Not sure I see much of a story in this unless it will be unpopular in Utah itself. it isn't as if this hasn't been used since the C19th or somesuch.
                    The problems is the result of Political Correctness and Progressives in general.

                    In just about every veterinary clinic or on the road doing house calls, vets will put down sick, injured, or crippled animals by lethal injection. I've had a horse, two ponies and two dogs put down by that method. The 30+ year old horse had a stroke and couldn't get up, the one pony a heart attack, the other extremely crippled from old age, one dog, a stroke, the other bleeding internally from cancer. They just peacefully go to sleep in your arms, then totally limp.

                    So, why is this common drug, also used as a sedative in smaller doses, becoming unavailable to the prison system? Simple, the drug companies are refusing to sell those drugs to the state prison system thanks to rights groups, lawyers, and political correctness brought on by Progressives, the same people that have no issue what so ever with women having late term abortions.
                    “Breaking News,”

                    “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SRV Ron View Post
                      The problems is the result of Political Correctness and Progressives in general.

                      In just about every veterinary clinic or on the road doing house calls, vets will put down sick, injured, or crippled animals by lethal injection. I've had a horse, two ponies and two dogs put down by that method. The 30+ year old horse had a stroke and couldn't get up, the one pony a heart attack, the other extremely crippled from old age, one dog, a stroke, the other bleeding internally from cancer. They just peacefully go to sleep in your arms, then totally limp.

                      So, why is this common drug, also used as a sedative in smaller doses, becoming unavailable to the prison system? Simple, the drug companies are refusing to sell those drugs to the state prison system thanks to rights groups, lawyers, and political correctness brought on by Progressives, the same people that have no issue what so ever with women having late term abortions.
                      Should the government force companies to produce and sell such drugs for executions?

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                      • #12
                        I think Lead poisoning is just fine.............Come on people, we are not that far removed from when they had hangings on saturday and the whole family turned out to watch bringing a picnic lunch........there is a REASON these people are executed........

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                        • #13
                          A bullet was good enough for Ol Yeller its more than good enough for a "Human".

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SRV Ron View Post
                            The problems is the result of Political Correctness and Progressives in general.

                            In just about every veterinary clinic or on the road doing house calls, vets will put down sick, injured, or crippled animals by lethal injection. I've had a horse, two ponies and two dogs put down by that method. The 30+ year old horse had a stroke and couldn't get up, the one pony a heart attack, the other extremely crippled from old age, one dog, a stroke, the other bleeding internally from cancer. They just peacefully go to sleep in your arms, then totally limp.

                            So, why is this common drug, also used as a sedative in smaller doses, becoming unavailable to the prison system? Simple, the drug companies are refusing to sell those drugs to the state prison system thanks to rights groups, lawyers, and political correctness brought on by Progressives, the same people that have no issue what so ever with women having late term abortions.
                            I don't really see what that has to do with my statement on this being a 'non-story'.

                            As for the companies not selling drugs for executions - 'consumer/shareholder pressure' has long been one of the favoured tactics of conservatives. Instead of big bad government telling people what to do, people get things done themselves by organizing campaigns. Companies can then make decisions about what is better for their bottom line - the profit from the specific activity or assenting to the wishes of the campaigners. Capitalism & democracy at work.

                            I guess they could have just issued death threats as happened when gun stores attempted to sell 'smart guns'. Don't recall much outrage here when that happened.
                            Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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                            • #15
                              Dunno why the state doesn't just subcontract this stuff to the mob.

                              You find the guy guilty, and then Vito and Tommy take him for a walk.
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